Image: Hta-mein, women's skirt. Image above: A woman's skirt (cotton); ikat stripes. © The Trustees of the British Museum
Rich in natural resources such as jade, rubies and teak but with much of the country now living below the poverty line, Myanmar is interconnected yet cut-off. Once an influential superpower, it is now governed by a repressive regime with human rights issues including the violent persecution of the Rohingya. When the exhibition was first planned, loans from the country were anticipated, but the generals put pay to that. The many extraordinary items on display come from the BM and also many local British museums, whose collections demonstrate the importance of the country for Britain during colonial times. Intriguingly, “many objects in different collections were very similar,” according to curator Alexandra Green, apparently “bought from a 1903 mail order catalogue produced by an Italian.” The objects show how Burmese artists adapted their wares for a new European clientele.........
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